This is a review of the Luna Ulu 8” Concert Banjolele. It’s a beautiful instrument that you will want to place on the wall as a stunning work of art. Instead, you should hear how this beauty sounds. The banjolele comes from a company that believes instruments should be inspiring to their players as well as providing a great sound.
- Maple body
- Chrome hardware
- Clear head
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Sealed tuners
- Tobacco burst finish
We might have saved the best looking banjolele for last with this beauty. The Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele has an open drum head that allows you to see the beautiful etchings on the back of the resonator. It was inspired by the traditional design seen on many Hawaiian quilts. When the ukulele was introduced to the people of Hawaii, it was around the same time as missionaries had brought fabrics and steel needles to the islands.
For this banjo, the Luna company was influenced by the taro plant, which is also called the KALO. The people of Hawaii were taught how to make patchwork quilts, but they branched out to make beautiful quilts with their own unique twist. They would fold fabric like people fold paper to make snowflakes. This design is what you’ll see on the inside of the Luna Ulu instrument.
The people behind the company started the business with the idea that the instruments should be a reflection of the musician playing them. The company was co-founded by an artist named Yvonne de Villiers. Her acclaim as a stained glass artist helped her visualize a company that would create instruments like banjos and guitars that had delicate inlays or designs that reflected nature. There are often laser cuts on the instruments. The makers of the guitars, banjos and ukuleles are artists or inspired by artists.
Every stringed instrument that leaves a manufacturer will leave with loose strings and a bridge that isn’t attached. If the banjolele was packed with all its pieces tightened, the result on the other side of the transaction would be a broken mess.
When you receive your banjolele, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to tune the strings and place the bridge. If you’re not comfortable making these adjustments yourself, you can bring the banjolele to a professional who can do that for you. Plus, you’ll want to show off this beauty to everyone even if you don’t know how to play yet.
The neck and body of this stunning banjolele are made from lovely mahogany. This is a great tone wood for instruments because it really enhances the sound from the strings. The fretboard is made from walnut and there are pearl dot inlays. While the wood with its Tobacco Burst finish is stunning, it’s the back of the resonator that’s visible through the clear head that makes this little instrument shine.
We should take a moment to talk about the clear head. Usually a banjo head is a material that resembles animal skin because that’s what was used back in the day. This head is a clear material from Remo Weatherking that allows you to see the design specifically. We’ve included a video from the Luna company that shows off the distinct sound of the banjo. Even with the clear head, it sounds exactly like a match of banjo and ukulele.
Resonator or Open Back
This banjolele has a mahogany resonator that can be seen through the clear head of the instrument. We love how the design on the resonator doesn’t impact the sound of the banjolele itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this banjolele have geared or friction tuners?
The chrome tuners are open geared.
What is the tuning of the instrument?
It’s a standard concert ukulele tuning of G-C-E-A. Some customers changed the strings to Aquila concert ones that changed the tuning to C-G-D-A, which can be done by a professional if you like.
Are the strings on this banjolele nylon or steel?
The strings on this instrument are nylon like most ukuleles. It helps to create a loud, banjo-like sound for this banjolele.
The Luna Ulu Concert Banjolele is a great instrument if you’ve been playing the uke or the banjo and want a different sound. It’s a beautiful melding of the two instrument’s sounds. While you get a lovely sounding instrument, you also get one that’s almost a work of art. The laser etching on the back of the resonator will make this a banjolele you don’t want to hide in a closet or a bag. Hang this baby on the wall of your living room. When people comment on its beauty, you can pull it down and play for them. They’ll be just as impressed with the sound.